Community service held in Columbus to honor victims of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

Community service held in Columbus to honor victims of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - An interfaith community service was held Friday honoring the lives of those killed at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday.

Rabbi Beth Schwartz read off the names of each person injured and killed in the attack. The service was a time for those in the area to rally around the local Jewish community.

“Our tradition teaches us that destroying a life is like destroying a whole universe,” said Schwartz. “Who they were as human beings did not matter. To their killer, they were Jews.”

Schwartz discussed the motivation for the attacker’s rampage for those in attendance.

"The man who murdered 11 Jews was apparently motivated to act after hearing reports of HIAS working to settle refugees in Pennsylvania."

The organization was created to help Jews fleeing persecution in Russia. The report she mentioned discussed the organization helping South Americans and Syrians relocate to Pennsylvania.

“After all, a Jewish organization working with immigrants must have been doubly offensive to this man,” said Schwartz.

Before closing the evening’s service, Schwartz gave a brief talk on how to overcome hate in our society.

“The way to battle antisemitism and other -isms like it is to be neighbors. To love, and like and accept. Barebecue together and trick or treat together because hatred is no way to live.”

The Temple is calling for a moment of silence at 9:54 a.m. Saturday in remembrance of those lives lost at Tree of Life Synagogue.

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